IT is one of those things in life that you believe that you have woken up on the right side of everything, that you have made the right decision to leave your country of birth with excitement to join a university in Northern Ireland – an experience many in struggling economies will not have. 
You realise that nothing is constant. This is the feeling a soft-spoken Nigerian student had when she landed in Belfast in this, 2022. Accommodation was a problem, as it is for many people now in the North. At her new house, an Airbnb, she was welcomed by two dogs. The student was reassured that those dogs don’t bite, they are timid fellows. She is not afraid of canines anyway, but in her culture, pets living in the house is not as common. 
The landlady was friendly the first few days, after that it turned very comical and then mean. The racist language towards her was repetitive and unbecoming. Should she stay on or leg it? There is no better way of showing your disappointment than by being straight about it. So she told her landlady that enough was enough, no more humiliation.
No-one likes to be bullied and an ignorant, racist verbosity can define a person. It happens like this: Some people can be practising discrimination in their private sphere but the people who know them, family and friends, will not believe that they are indeed men or women of the ‘I don’t like you because of the colour of your skin’ persuasion. This is why it is difficult to fight racism, because it is contained in closets that others don’t know about. There is a hierarchy of racism and discrimination. Not many people in the North will want to be identified by either. So what is the problem? Burden of proof, racism in the closet and other competing campaigns against inequality informs the future of peace and quiet for the victims who have to endure this skin-deep thing. To say that racist feelings are perceptions by the victim is a lie that has been built over generations by politicians and governments who will go the extra mile to rely on the burden of proving whether what was uttered or done was offensive. 
There is an African saying from the Shona community and it goes: “A womb is an indiscriminate container, it bears a thief and a witch.” Fair enough, that sounds graphic, but it also means that same racist human being was not born like that. So no excuses. International students bring over £26 billion to the economy in Britain and Northern Ireland, these students bring big investment. We have seen new buildings mushrooming in university towns all over and it is a record effort being carried out to satisfy the needs of the students. I am  glad that the student finally got a university apartment to live in.
•WE know that the Earth provides for those who nourish it. It is said that the war of the stomach is fought and won with the hoe or tractor. But is it that simple? Not in the Horn of Africa, which has been experiencing extreme hot weather and famine in the last three years. 
This column spoke about the famine in East Africa and four Irishmen – Fra, Francis, John and Robert – showed what the Irish people are known for the world over: Humanitarianism. They said that they wanted just one person or one family to benefit from a donation of theirs that would face-off with this scandalous famine. Their gift to the dying poor will go to a family with very urgent needs. 
•GOVERNMENT, oh dear! Can the St Andrews Agreement of 2006 be recalled or the people consulted now so that a government can be established? There is no meaningful devolution now in Northern Ireland because no-one seems to care about it any more. On the other hand, it is fantastic that the slated Stormont elections will not happen because the people have said that it will be a waste of money. Some of us are looking for jobs to do, to make things better here for you and for me, but others don’t want to look themselves in the mirror and say, enough is enough let’s do some work. •All self-respecting people in society must continue to demand justice for Noah Donohoe and his family.